Arroyo pre-SONA oath-taking 'symbolic', says lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2018 11:00 AM

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MANILA - Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo being sworn in as House Speaker just minutes before President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address was "symbolic" to the members of the chamber, a lawmaker said Friday.

Although this was "unparliamentary," the acts showed Arroyo that "she already got the majority," said 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero.

"It was very emotional at that time and parang naghahanap ng symbolic transition, symbolic change. That change happened right before SONA…It was more of a symbolism rather than an official one," he told ANC's Headstart.

Recalling statements from Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Romero said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea "tried to pacify" the tension that brewed after Arroyo unseated Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez. 

The Duterte aide insisted on a "status quo" on the House leadership, at least until the President finishes his address to Congress.

House lawmakers remained in the plenary hall after listening to Duterte's 48-minute speech to again vote on the change of leadership. A total of 184 representatives elected Arroyo, while 12 abstained.

She took an oath as the new leader later that night when the House mace was finally placed in front of the session hall.